Nerve is a game that works like Truth or Dare, except without the Truth. Users download the app, provide their personal info (bank account, Facebook profile), and choose to Watch or Play. Players accept or reject dares that they must complete in an allotted amount of time. Completing dares earns Players money and popularity that’s parlayed into rankings; the best two Players duke it out in a winner-take-all battle. Through a series of personal humiliations Vee (Emma Roberts), a diffident artsy high school senior whose favorite novel is Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, ends up playing the game and teaming up with a handsome daredevil (Dave Franco) to win it all. As a YOLO-esque narrative about a girl coming out of her shell Nerve is short on the technical details of the game and the people behind it. Moreover, as the movie devolves into a digital analog of The Hunger Games it becomes clear that the answer to who is behind the game is not so important, since the game is a metaphor for mob rule and the negative effects of anonymization. Still, you’ll likely get a thrill out of watching Vee traipse across a ladder laid horizontally between two apartment buildings, one-hundred feet in the air. And the filmmakers, Catfish creators Ariel Shulman and Henry Joost, incorporate digital devices in a slick manner. Wisely the movie swaps a score for a hip soundtrack. And Josh “The Fat Jew” Ostrovsky has a cameo.
By Alec Julian & Carrie White